TAMIU-Public Library 'Vivan Las Independence Film Festival' Begins at TAMIU Sept. 11

This Fall, Texas A&M International University students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the Laredo community will be treated to six independent films, selected for their excellence at film festivals world-wide and not typically available to the general public.

Titled "!Vivan Las Independence!: International Independent Films," the series will be shown Thursday nights at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Auditorium. Admission is free and open to the public.

The viewings are a collaborative effort between the Laredo Public Library and TAMIU's Department of Language and Literature. Dr. William Nichols, assistant professor, explained that due to fair use issues, he and co-sponsor Dr. Sean Chadwell were concerned they would not offer their annual film festival.

"Sean and I were very fortunate to receive an e-mail from Malia Watson at the Laredo Public Library. Her dilemma was that they had films to show but no space in which to present them. Ours was we had a space but no films. So, this semester we will be collaborating with the Public Library to present a series on International Independent Film," Nichols explained.

The schedule of films is as follows:

September 11 -- Manito (2002), directed by Eric Eason. English. The story follows two brothers growing up in Washington Heights, a Latino neighborhood in New York City. One brother has spent time in prison, one is trying to follow the straight life. The film has won a bevy of awards, including the Special Jury Prize at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. Discussion afterwards will be lead by Dr. Terry Hannigan, director of the Student Counseling Center.

September 25 -- Marion Bridge (2002), directed by Wiebke von Carolsfeld. English. Three sisters return home to assist their dying mother, in the process learning more than they might care to about their lives and past. Won the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival's "Best Canadian First Feature Film." Discussion afterwards will be lead by Dr. Debbie Blackwell, assistant professor of history and women and gender studies.

October 9 -- Ali Zoua, Prince of the Streets, (2000) directed by Nabil Ayouch. Arabic and French, with English subtitles. A saccharine-free, engaging story about three street children in Morocco who vow to bury their dead friend 'like a king.' This film has won more than 11 awards at international film festivals, including the Stockholm Film Festival and the Montréal World Film Festival. Discussion afterwards will be lead by Dr. Ezra Engling, professor of Spanish.

October 23 -- El Bola (2000) directed by Achero Mañas. Spanish, with English subtitles. An intense look at an abused Spanish boy, and the effect a new friendship has on his life. The film was name the "European Discovery of the Year" at the 2001 European Film Festival. Discussion afterwards will be lead by Dr. Bill Nichols, assistant professor of Spanish.

November 6 -- Light of My Eyes (2001), directed by Giuseppe Piccioni. Italian with English subtitles. The film follows chauffer Antonio through his relationship with a single mother and her daughter. Won three awards at the 2001 Venice Film festival. Discussion afterwards will be lead by Malia Watson, of the Laredo Public Library.

November 20 -- He Died with a Felafel in His Hand (2001) Richard Lowenstein. English. Based on John Birmingham's novel of the same title, this comedy follows Danny and his experiences in roommate living. Discussion afterwards will be lead by Dr. Sean Chadwell, assistant professor of English.

Malia Watson, technical services manager of the Laredo Public Library, explained that the films are distributed through a collaboration between FilmMovement and RB Publishing, one of the Library's vendors.

"Our contract provides us with a subscription to FilmMovement, and allows for one public showing of each film. FilmMovement travels to film festivals the world over and bids on films they thought were interesting. While the Library has a viewing space, it's not as comfortable as the venue at TAMIU and we thought the audience would more likely be found at the University, rather than at the Library. It's a wonderful opportunity to collaborate," Watson said.

For more information about the !Vivan Las Independence! film festival, please contact Dr. William Nichols at 326.2610, e-mail wnichols@tamiu.edu or visit office in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 421B; Dr. Sean Chadwell at 326.2471, e-mail schadwell@tamiu.edu, or visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 418C; or Malia Watson at 795.2400, e-mail malia@laredolibrary.org, or visit offices at the Laredo Public Library, Main Branch, 1120 E. Calton. More information about FilmMovement can be found at www.filmmovement.com.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu